Henry Givens, Jr., president emeritus of Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis, died on July 20 at his home in St. Louis. He was 90 years old.
A native of St. Louis, Givens was a graduate of historically Black Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. After graduating from college, he became an elementary school teacher at a magnet school in Webster Groves, Missouri. He was the only man on the school’s faculty. Givens later became principal at the school and served as assistant superintendent of the school district.
During this time, Givens earned a master’s degree in education at the University of Illinois-Urbana and a doctorate in urban education and school administration at St. Louis University.
In 1973, Dr. Givens became the first African American assistant commissioner of Missouri’s Department of Education. In 1979, he was named president of what is now Harris-Stowe State University. In 1987, Dr. Givens also took on the role of interim president at Lincoln University.
Dr. Givens served as president of Harris Stowe for 32 years until his retirement in 2011. Under his leadership, the university tripled its student population, grew from one building with only one degree to eight facilities and 14-degree programs.